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Adjusting audio levels and position

From: iMovie 11 Essential Training

Video: Adjusting audio levels and position

Okay, at this point, we've covered pretty much all the essential training aspects of working with video in iMovie. In this chapter, we're going to focus on working with audio in your projects. We will look at how to work with the existing audio in your clips, as well as how to add and manipulate additional audio files. I am going to go back to my Project Library and reopen the Surfing Ventura project we created previously. So, we'll start by working with the audio of the clips we've already added to this project. Now in iMovie, you can adjust the audio of individual clips or for your entire project. To adjust the audio of any clip, simply click into Action menu and select Audio Adjustments.

Adjusting audio levels and position

Okay, at this point, we've covered pretty much all the essential training aspects of working with video in iMovie. In this chapter, we're going to focus on working with audio in your projects. We will look at how to work with the existing audio in your clips, as well as how to add and manipulate additional audio files. I am going to go back to my Project Library and reopen the Surfing Ventura project we created previously. So, we'll start by working with the audio of the clips we've already added to this project. Now in iMovie, you can adjust the audio of individual clips or for your entire project. To adjust the audio of any clip, simply click into Action menu and select Audio Adjustments.

That opens up the Audio Inspector. Let's see if I can reduce the volume. (birds chirping) Conveniently, it loops for me, so I don't have to keep pressing Play to adjust the audio, and I can press the Spacebar to stop it. Now, we have some other options in here. We will talk about ducking in the movie on voiceovers. We also have Fade In and Fade Out sliders that control how quickly the audio of the clip comes in and out. iMovie does a pretty good job of handling fade-ins and fade-outs automatically, but if you want to extend or reduce the length of a fade, just grab one of the sliders-- you can see Manual gets checked--and then you can just drag the slider to the left or to the right.

To the left shortens the fade, and to the right lengthens it. So, for example, you might want a longer audio fade-out to go along with a longer video fade-out at the end of your movie, in which case you would just drag this to the right. Notice that moves the Fade In slider in conjunction. That's because this is such a short clip. So I can't have a fade-in that overlaps a fade-out. You will also find this Enhance section that allows you to reduce background noise. This can be used if you have footage of someone speaking but with a lot of ambient noise in the background. Now we don't have anyone speaking in any of these clips, but as an example, in this clip where our surfer is zipping up his suit, let's give that a listen.

(truck engine) (birds chirping) So you can hear that truck engine in the background, along with some birds and a lot of background noise. If I turn on Reduce background noise and then drag the slider to the right, you will notice that the truck sound and bird noises are easier to hear because a lot of the sounds of the waves and the wind have been removed. Let's give it a listen. (truck engine) (birds chirping) If I drag it all the way to right, you can really hear the extreme settings.

(truck engine) (birds chirping) Now your results might vary with that, but if you do have a lot of background noise and you are having trouble hearing your subject's audio, you might try turning on the Reduce background noise slider. Also found in here is the graphic equalizer. This has several built in presets to boost different ranges of audio depending on what you're trying to do. We can have Voice Enhancement, Music Enhancement, Loudness to bring the overall volume of all the different levels up, and so on and so on.

Basically, just select the one you want to see if it improves the sound of your clip. You can also manually adjust the EQ if you prefer, by dragging any of these sliders up and down. Without getting into too much detail here, generally the frequencies on the left side are the lower or the bass-response frequencies. As we move to the right, we have the midrange and the higher-range frequencies over here. So this is just something you can play around with to see if you can improve the sound of your clip. You will also find a Normalize Clip Volume button here. If you find that the selected clip in your project has a lot of variance in terms of some audio levels being really quite and others being fairly loud, you can normalize them, which means to make them all the same level.

All you need to do is select the clip and then click the Normalize button to apply the effect. (truck engine) (birds chirping) So that pretty much puts everything at around the same volume level within the clip. If you don't like it or if you want to change your mind, just click Remove Normalization and set the clip back to its original state. Now in previous versions of iMovie, if you wanted all the clips in your project to have the same relative volume, you had to select and normalize all the clips, just by sort of selecting all and then opening your Audio Settings, and normalizing.

That was sort of a shotgun way of doing it because it doesn't really give you precise control over specific areas. That can be a problem because you're always going to have clips where parts of the audio are too quiet or too soft. But now in iMovie 11 you can have much more control over your audio because it let's you adjust your levels visually. Just click the Audio Waveform button at the bottom of the Project pane to see visual representations of the audio for each clip. I can now easily see which levels are louder than others. For example, the waveform for the clip of the truck sounds is really tall, meaning it's a loud clip.

I can drag this horizontal bar down to reduce the overall volume. I am going to just try to make it about level with the clip that's next to it here, and we can hear how that sounds. (truck engine) (birds chirping) So now our ears aren't suddenly being blasted off when we switch to that other clip. This is a nice visual way to make sure your levels match throughout your project. Now you can even select portions of a clip's audio if you only need to raise or lower a section instead of the audio for the entire clip. For example, if I just highlight the section of the clip here and drag up, notice only that section goes up.

Also notice if I drag too far up, the peaks of my waveforms turned yellow, and eventually they are turned sort of orange at the top there. This is warning me that that section is probably too loud and may distort, so I might want to drag that back down. Now if you accidentally adjust the selection, just press Delete on your keyboard to remove that adjustment. Also be aware that when you're selecting in here you have to select in the Audio Waveform portion. If I select the actual clip itself, that's not going to do anything. You can see I am still adjusting the entire waveform here. Also notice that at the beginning and end of the waveforms, we have these handles.

You can drag these into adjust the fade- in and fade-out of the audio, which, again, is a nice visual way of adjusting your audio. Notice if I drag this all the away to the right, or pretty far to the right, we'll have a nice fade-in of the audio. (video playing) That eventually gets louder. Being able to individually adjust the audio of clips is a really useful feature, especially if you're adding background music to your project, which we will see how to do later in this chapter, because you don't want your background music and the audio from your footage to compete with each other. All right, so that's an overview of the audio adjustments you can make iMovie 11.

Next, we'll learn how to add additional audio to our movie project.

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This video is part of

Image for iMovie 11 Essential Training
iMovie 11 Essential Training

55 video lessons · 50136 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
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  1. 1m 44s
    1. Welcome
      45s
    2. Using the exercise files
      59s
  2. 1m 6s
    1. Making sure you have the latest version of iMovie
      1m 6s
  3. 19m 13s
    1. Types of connections
      1m 58s
    2. Importing from a tape-based camera
      5m 40s
    3. Importing from a memory-based camera
      4m 8s
    4. Importing from a digital still camera
      3m 31s
    5. Importing from other sources
      2m 24s
    6. Capturing live action
      1m 32s
  4. 11m 55s
    1. Interface overview
      2m 8s
    2. The Event Library and Event Browser
      4m 9s
    3. Selecting and adding clips to a project
      3m 3s
    4. The toolbar
      2m 35s
  5. 23m 53s
    1. Organizing events
      4m 28s
    2. Rating clips
      3m 26s
    3. Advanced rating tools
      2m 34s
    4. Tagging with keywords
      5m 6s
    5. Automatically finding people in your clips
      2m 15s
    6. Moving events to a different hard drive
      2m 15s
    7. Deleting unwanted clips from your hard drive
      3m 49s
  6. 26m 40s
    1. Creating a new project
      2m 36s
    2. Adding clips to the project
      5m 46s
    3. Trimming and slip edits
      3m 40s
    4. Fine-tuning clips
      2m 6s
    5. Splitting clips
      3m 0s
    6. Cropping and rotating
      5m 11s
    7. The advanced Edit tool
      2m 14s
    8. Using a traditional timeline
      2m 7s
  7. 51m 55s
    1. Creating and adjusting still clips
      3m 22s
    2. Incorporating photos
      5m 48s
    3. Adjusting color
      5m 51s
    4. Using transitions
      9m 5s
    5. Adding titles
      4m 1s
    6. Using one-step effects
      2m 14s
    7. Stabilizing video
      5m 7s
    8. Using green screen effects
      7m 0s
    9. Creating movie trailers
      9m 27s
  8. 36m 21s
    1. Adjusting audio levels and position
      6m 8s
    2. Adding music and sound effects
      7m 15s
    3. Adding background music
      6m 48s
    4. Adding a voiceover
      5m 4s
    5. Extracting audio from other clips
      2m 58s
    6. Editing to the beat
      8m 8s
  9. 35m 11s
    1. Exporting to iTunes
      4m 58s
    2. Exporting to the Media Browser
      3m 37s
    3. Sharing to iDVD
      51s
    4. Publishing to a MobileMe web gallery
      4m 26s
    5. Publishing to YouTube, Vimeo, and iReport
      4m 39s
    6. Publishing to Facebook
      2m 49s
    7. Exporting QuickTime movies
      2m 29s
    8. Exporting a project for Final Cut
      2m 26s
    9. Changing published projects
      57s
    10. Finalizing your project
      2m 5s
    11. Moving a project to another Mac
      5m 54s
  10. 41s
    1. Goodbye
      41s

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